PEKING RAISES THE STAKES IN THE SENKAKU ISLANDS DISPUTE: A COMMENT
"Japan’s coastguard said it responded by warning the Chinese ships not to enter Japanese waters. It said that four Chinese ships entered the waters it claims but then left. A Chinese ship had previously sent out such a warning in September, the JCG said. This move by China could change the status quo in a dispute that has escalated in recent years, Chinese analysts said. Last month, Beijing announced a territorial baseline for the disputed islands that defined the exact geographical location of its claimed territory to back its long-standing claim. “Chinese government vessels did not chase Japanese boats out of the islands’ territorial waters in the past, as these waters were an area controlled by the Japanese coastguard,” said Li Guoqiang, an expert on border issues at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “But the situation changed when we created a legal basis for enforcing our claim by announcing the territorial baseline for the islands in September.” Beijing’s announcement was in reaction to Tokyo’s decision to nationalise some of the disputed islands, a move that set off a furious reaction in China. The Japanese government said the step was aimed at preventing the nationalist governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, from purchasing and developing the islands, and provoking China. However, Beijing has rejected that argument as a ruse. Last week, Zhang Zhijun, China’s vice-foreign minister, again blasted Japan for the decision in an indication that a series of negotiations with his Japanese counterpart to seek a resolution to the current tension have run aground. In the first half of September, dozens of Chinese cities witnessed large-scale anti-Japanese demonstrations, and some nationalists went on a rampage, damaging Japanese restaurants, department stores and Japanese-branded cars. There have also been some attacks against Japanese citizens in China. Chinese maritime surveillance vessels and fisheries administration vessels have patrolled the waters round the islands almost daily over the past month. Chinese navy ships have also appeared in waters close to the islands twice over the past two months. Mr Li said the Chinese government was still restraining itself and would not lightly add to the tension. “But if the Japanese don’t change their ways and return to the path of negotiation, such friction could increase,” he said. “Then, it would not be a question of just four vessels but many more.”'Kathrin Hille & Michiyo Nakamoto, "China raises stake over disputed lslands." The Financial Times. 31 October 2012, in www.ft.com
"History shows that the danger threatening the independence of this or that nation has generally arisen, at least in part, out of the momentary predominance of a neighbouring State at once militarily powerful, economically efficient, and ambitious to extend its frontiers or spread its influence, the danger being directly proportionate to the degree of its power and efficiency, and to the spontaneity or “inevitableness” of its ambitions. The only cheek on the abuse of political predominance derived from such a position has always consisted in the opposition of an equally formidable rival, or of a combination of several countries forming leagues of defence. The equilibrium established by such a grouping of forces is technically known as the balance of power, and it has become almost an historical truism to identify England’s secular policy with the maintenance of this balance by throwing her weight now in this scale and now in that, but ever onthe side, opposed to the political dictatorship of the strongest single, State or group at a given time."Sir Eyre Crowe, "Memorandum of the Present State of British Relations with France and Germany." In British Documents on the Origins of the War. Volume III: Testing the Entente, 1904-1906. Edited G. P. Gooch & Harold Temperley. (1928), p. 403. The mots of Sir Eyre Crowe, are most apt when one considers the increasing pressure that Peking is employing in the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Senkaku Islands. The fact is that no doubt for reasons of primat der Innenpolitik, the PRC is endeavoring to browbeat the Japanese government into accepting the Peoples Republic's claims about the islands. At this point, given the progression of Peking's policy over the past few years, one can only come to the conclusion that Peking's policies are not amenable to sweet reason or any type of logical or rational form of argument. And that it is come closer and closer to the time that the Western Powers and in particular the United States, must seriously contemplate employing its own forces in the immediate region of the islands in order to exercise a necessary deterrent vis-`a-vis Peking. Unless and until something akin to this occurs, look for more and more pressure of a military variety to be employed by the regime in Peking. With all that implies for the peace of the world.